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"You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone" -- Andy Rubin, Google

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer on Tuesday showed love for Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone and its "humble personal assistant" Siri at the AsiaD conference, stating, "Apple is a good competitor, but a different one.  Both [an iPhone and a Windows phone] are going to feel very good in your hand and both going to look very beautiful physically…"

But the next day his underling, Windows Phone Chief Andy Lees, was far less charitable.  He commented that Siri isn't "super useful" and argued that the similar voice assistant functionality found on Windows Phone 7 Mango is more useful.  Despite the fact that Siri uses the internet and plugs in to services like Wolfram Alpha (and, ironically Bing), he chastises that it's not a truly connected solution.  He says that Windows Phone's Bing-driven implementation gives you "the full power of the internet, rather than a certain subset."

Andy Lees interview
Windows Phone Chief Andy Lees gets queried by Ina Fried. [Source: AllThingsD]

He also said that Microsoft generally doesn't agree with Apple's premise of generally barking commands into your phone in public, though Microsoft does support such interaction targeted at specific environments, such as in the privacy of your car.

Similar criticisms were sounded by Android chief, Google, Inc. (GOOG) SVP Andy Rubin.  He comments, "I don't believe that your phone should be an assistant.  Our phone is a tool for communicating. You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone; you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone."

Andy Rubin
Google SVP and Android chief Andy Rubin [Source: AllThingsD]

When it comes to talking to someone on the phone, he argues that's perfectly normal, stating, "To some degree it is natural for you to talk to your phone."

But when it comes to talking to a sassy AI agent he expresses skepticism that it will be a healthy or popular exercise.  He states, "We’ll see how pervasive it gets."

And he says that the tech is nothing new.  He pointed out that Android co-founder Rich Miner worked to bake a similar cellphone speech assistant into his company's OS, but that Google opted to stick with just commands, not a more talkative assistant.

He did offer some faint praise for Apple's app, admitting that it is polished, at the very least.  He remarks, "This isn’t a new notion.  In projecting the future, I think Apple did a good job of figuring out when the technology was ready to be consumer-grade."

Sources: Engadget, AllThingsD

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By XSpeedracerX on 10/20/2011 12:23:05 PM , Rating: 2
People talking to themselves using their BT microphones already look crazy. It won't look so crazy watching someone talk to their in-hand phone if it talks back. So at least there's that.

RE: Bluetooth
By phatboye on 10/20/2011 12:28:03 PM , Rating: 5
anyone holding a product with a partially eaten Apple on it already look crazy

RE: Bluetooth
By retrospooty on 10/20/2011 12:28:20 PM , Rating: 2
I dont think they will look too crazy... For the most part people will put the phone somewhere near their face and talk into it. They may look more like cap. Kirk wannabe's than schizo's talking to themselves or voices in thier head.

RE: Bluetooth
By thisisaname on 10/20/2011 4:17:45 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah but once the technology is ubiquitious, nobody will look crazy.

RE: Bluetooth
By TSS on 10/21/2011 10:55:56 AM , Rating: 2
Actually the people that won't use the technology at that point will look crazy.

"hey what's up? i haven't seen you talking to your phone lately, you feeling ok?"

RE: Bluetooth
By Subzero0000 on 10/20/2011 9:08:50 PM , Rating: 2
People talking to themselves using their BT microphones already look crazy.

yea, I always have to look again to see if he/she had a Bluetooth thing on the ear.
It's especially scary when they are arguing to the air.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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